Enhancing the Impact of Citizen - Led Transparency Initiatives for Good Governance Project

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A new collaboration is putting learning-based approaches squarely at the forefront of efforts to help sustain social accountability initiatives on the ground.  The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA EAP) has recently linked up with the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) and the Coalition Against Corruption – Makati Business Club (CAC-MBC) to implement a two-year project in the Philippines called, "Enhancing the Impact of Citizen - Led Transparency Initiatives for Good Governance Project".  The project aims primarily to strengthen local learning networks or the so-called “communities of practice” among citizen groups and local government officials engaged in social accountability work.

“One thing that we want to accomplish with this project is to institutionalize some mechanisms or process on the ground that could facilitate regular exchange and building of a shared agenda on good governance among local stakeholders – nongovernment organizations, volunteer and community groups, local public officials, the academe, local media, and even business groups,” explained Randee Cabaces, project coordinator for ANSA EAP.  “The entry point will be citizen-driven monitoring projects designed to build on our partners’ past work, constructively engage local officials, and lead to improved public services or programs,” added Mr. Cabaces.

For the first year, the PTF project consortium decided to partner with selected members of the Northern Luzon Coalition for Good Governance (NLCGG), a network of citizen groups promoting good governance in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera Autonomous Region.  The NLCGG members and PTF consortium representatives held a partnership building meeting last 12 October 2012 in Baguio City to level off on the project objectives and design, brainstorm on possible project sites and citizen monitoring initiatives, and agree on partnership arrangements.  Four (4) NLCGG members – Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Governance (CCAGG), Kalinga Apayao Religious Sector Association (KARSA), Community Volunteer Missioners (CVM), and the Responsible Citizens, Empowered Communities In Solidarity for Social Change (RECITE), Inc. – subsequently joined the strategic planning in Dagupan City on 29-30 October.

“I like the fact that this PTF initiative tries to bring to the forefront the problem of sustainability in citizen monitoring and constructive engagement work at the local level.  It pushes us to really think about our strategies to help ensure that such work will continue even after shifts in local policies and priorities that come with changes in the local administration,” noted Ester Alconga, Executive Director of RECITE, during the strategic planning workshop.  “Expanding partnership-building initiatives and broadening the coverage of our learning activities to include other local governance actors could be part of such strategies,” Ms. Alconga clarified.

During the Dagupan workshop, the NLCGG members also came out with initial designs for their proposed citizen monitoring projects within target sites in Abra, Kalinga, and Pangasinan.  The PTF consortium hopes to receive the final drafts of the project proposals by mid-January 2013 and process the grant support soon thereafter.  Meanwhile, building on the initial capacity and learning needs assessment during the strategic planning workshop, ANSA EAP plans to draft its learning program within the next few days to support the NLCGG partners.  Said program will include a constructive engagement workshop with local governments in the target sites.

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